There are no orchids here, and no long shore
teeming with raucous life, no salted wings
rising above the multicolored boats,
no overwhelming breezes, and no tides
rising, impelling everything that floats
to shore or seaward where no warbler sings,
and no palm trees, waving their endless fronds.
Instead there’s only heat: the algaed ponds
cannot reflect the sky or even trees,
birches grown bare above them, whose bare limbs
are falling constantly to riversides,
and floating downstream where a viper swims
in wait, for me or you, and all of these
impressions have combined to replicate
the feeling of an ever closing gate.
I want to leap it, get away, become
something completely other, changed somehow
just by the landscape, as my life divides
between the endless blossom and the bough,
walking in rhythm to a restless drum
to Panama, Maldive, or Singapore.
W. F. Lantry
W. F. Lantry spent many years walking the deserts and climbing the mountains of Southern California. Now he spends time roaming the Eastern Forests from Maryland to Vermont and gardening beside Washington, DC’s Anacostia River. His poetry collections are The Terraced Mountain (Little Red Tree 2015), The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, and The Language of Birds (2011). He received his PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors' Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), Comment Magazine Poetry Award (Canada), Paris/Atlantic Young Writers Award (France), Old Red Kimono Paris Lake Poetry Prize and Potomac Review Prize. His work has appeared widely online and in print. He is the editor of Peacock Journal.